As rivalries go, there are few bigger ones than the Derby della Capitale, arguably the fiercest city derby in the country, the Rome derby is also one of the most hotly contested matches in Europe.
On the evidence of both side’s form coming into the derby, one might think it’d more or less turn out to be a one-sided affair as Lazio are currently on a 5-game winning streak while Roma only just won their second game of the season in the midweek round of fixtures.
If the wonderful Serie A has taught us anything though, it is that form doesn’t really matter when it comes to derbies, especially the Derby Della Capitale.
Roma’s comprehensive 4-0 triumph over lowly Frosinone on Wednesday night was a demonstration of power and a statement of intent from a side that is bursting with talent and quality and would go a long way in helping increase the Giallorossi’s confidence ahead of the game.
Players to watch
Aleksandar Kolarov continues to thrive in Italy following a Serie A season that saw him become Roma’s best acquisition in the 2017/18 campaign and he has also started the 2018/19 season in similar fashion. The seasoned left-back is adding much-needed experience to Roma’s youthful side and is getting plenty of love from the fans – even when things don’t go their way which was the case against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Getting three points against the in-form Lazio will be easier said than done, however, given the close-to-perfect start of the season Simone Inzaghi’s men have had. Having nearly missed out on the Champions League spot last term, Lazio are determined to clinch the top-four spot and have every right to hope so following a strong start to 2018/19.
Back-to-back defeats to league contenders Napoli and Juventus at the very beginning of the season did little to throw Biancocelesti off the track. Inzaghi’s men responded with five successive victories – including a 2-1 victory over Apollon in the Europa League – and will have the 23-year-old Serbia starlet Sergej Milinkovic-Savic alongside Ciro Immobile to thank for the fact they sit in third ahead of the big match.
The flamboyant midfielder emerged as one of the most sought-after footballers last summer and was heavily linked with Europe’s biggest sides throughout the transfer window despite his somewhat unimpressive World Cup appearance with Serbia.
The Sergeant or SMS as they fondly refer to him in Rome has managed to put his poor World cup showing behind him by hitting the ground running this season, further justifying his €100 million valuation by Lazio.
Expect a tactical war of wits at the Stadio Olimpico as two of the finest managers in the Italian game in Eusebio Di Francesco(Roma) and Simone Inzaghi (Lazio) square up against each other.
Inzaghi flexed his tactical muscles in the midweek fixture by resting a number of key players and still securing a 2-1 win away at Udinese while from the evidence of Roma’s impressive champions league run last season, we already have an idea of what Di Francesco offers.
2:00pm (Nigerian Time) on Saturday is when the ancient city of Rome comes to a standstill to witness the clash of the titans… Roma VS Lazio, The Giallorossi vs the Biancocelesti in the Derby della capitale.